Enchanted Circle, NM - Red River, Angel Fire, & Taos

When we were choosing a destination for our big family vacation this year there were several locations that came to mind. We wanted a vacation that was diverse in what we would see & do but was also budget friendly.  After giving it some thought we decided to visit New Mexico. The previous year we had visited Red River & really liked what we found. This trip would be different because we would travel across West Texas & visit Southern New Mexico on our way to the Enchanted Circle. Our trip lasted 10 days with 7 wonderful days in Red River, Angel Fire, & Taos. 



We drove up to Red River from Roswell.  The 5 hour drive would take us across terrain that went from desert to mountains. From paved roads to unpaved roads. NM highway 434 becomes a narrow gravel road about 20 miles out of Angel Fire.
Just outside Roswell, NM headed north.


Unpaved portion of NM highway 434 outside Angel Fire
Just outside of Angel Fire, NM

We arrived in Red River mid-afternoon to temperatures in the low 70s! This was amazing given it was June & the temperature in Texas was 90 degrees. The average highs & lows in Red River during the summer is highs in the 70s & lows in the 40s. 
We had 7 days to spend in the Enchanted Circle of New Mexico. How were we able to enjoy our time & still stay on budget? 

Lodging

One of the biggest expenses you will incur on your vacation is lodging. When selecting a lodging option you have to consider the needs of your family. Our family is two adults & one 12 year old. A hotel with 2 queen beds is usually the lodging option we choose because we do not need a house for our vacations as we spend very little time in the room. However, if you have a large family, a house or cabin might be the best option. I personally like hotels because breakfast is usually included & I do not have to cook or clean which is a true vacation for me! 

After doing research we selected the Best Western Rivers Edge in Red River for our lodging in the Enchanted Circle. This was our first stay at a Best Western hotel.  
Best Western River's Edge Red River
The price was a reasonable $125 + tax per night average, which was far less expensive than lodging I had researched in Colorado. The Best Western Rivers Edge is located in the center of Red River making the whole town within walking distance. We had room number 210 which was facing the river with 2 queen beds. I highly recommend requesting a room facing the river, not only for the view but because the sun will not shine in your room all day as it does on the town side of the hotel. Our room was decent sized with a table & 2 chairs & a desk with a desk chair.  The split bathroom had the sink located outside of the toilet & tub room making getting ready in the mornings much easier. The room also has a microwave & mini refrigerator. While the Best Western Rivers Edge is not a
Double Queen Room 210
new hotel, it is exceptionally clean.  The ladies who clean the rooms obviously take pride in their work & are an asset to the Best Western organization. The beds are incredibly

comfortable making for a good nights rest. The room is quiet as we heard none of our neighbors at any time during our stay. The made to order breakfast that is available every morning is the best I have ever had at a hotel.  Mark will prepare waffles & eggs just the
Breakfast area - The BEST hotel breakfast ever!
way you like them! You also have a selection of yogurt, fruit, breads, coffee, juice, & milk as well. The made to order breakfast is FREE, saving you money & the time of going out to eat for breakfast each morning. I cannot say enough good things about the breakfast. Best Western Rivers Edge is superb at hospitality. My son was excited about the large 46" television that had hundreds of satellite stations to choose.  I personally could have done without the TV, but he enjoyed watching it each night before going to sleep.  The Internet speed was decent as we noticed very little lag.  The hotel
Weber gas grills available for use by guests at
Best Western River's Edge
offers 2 gas grills for guests to use. You will also find several patio tables & chairs around the property.  
Best Western River's Edge facing river/deck
The fire pit next to the river is lit nightly for guests to enjoy time out by the fire. There is a hot tub that faces the ski mountain. A washer & dryer is available for guests to use as well. The hotel rooms are non-smoking. However, outside areas do not have a designated smoking area & we found ourselves running from the smokers frequently when we were outside.  This is the only problem we experienced during our week stay at the Best Western Rivers Edge & it was not a big deal. I highly recommend the Best Western Rivers Edge!


Bathroom


Dressing Area

Microwave & Refrigerator Cabinet.

Desk & Large Screen TV

View From Deck
The Red River & platinum ski lift run behind the
Best Western River's Edge hotel.
As I have written in previous posts, I join every rewards program available so I can be rewarded with free nights or merchandise. Therefore, I joined the Best Western rewards program since we would be staying 7 nights.  I do not think Best Western has a very good rewards program in comparison to other programs I am a member of. For my 7 night stay I received one $25 gift card from a variety of restaurants & stores.   I guess that is better than nothing...

Food:

The price of food in the Enchanted Circle is more expensive than our home town in Texas. Since we were travelling on a budget, we needed to develop a plan of how we would eat for 10 days and not break the bank. 
One thing we did was we brought an ice chest that had sodas, water, & snacks in it from home. On our 3 day trip up to Red River I would fill gallon size zip lock bags with ice from the ice machine at the hotel we stayed to keep the items chilled. When we would stop at a fast food restaurant on our road trip we only ordered the entree to go & then drank our own soda & ate our own chips & grapes. You would be surprised how much money you save by doing this! 

Another food cost saver was our hotel choices. Each night we stayed at a hotel that offered free breakfast & we were not disappointed. One of the reasons we selected the Best Western Rivers Edge was the FREE breakfast each morning. This fantastic breakfast saved us a lot of money & gave us a good start for the day.  
Steak dinner prepared on gas grills at
Best Western River's Edge

The Best Western Rivers Edge has gas grills available for guests to use. This amenity helped us save money on our trip. We stopped at Walmart on the way into Red River & picked up a steak.  I brought steak seasoning from home as well as Solo plates & forks & knives for this meal. We went to Sundance Restaurant & picked up 3 baked potatoes & brought them back to the hotel to have with our steaks. Our steak dinner cost us $20 - much less expensive than ordering a steak dinner at a restaurant & very tasty. By the way we enjoyed our steak dinner at one of the patio tables on the deck at the hotel. 

We only ate one big meal per day. On days we hiked we would take beef jerky, peanut butter crackers, & grapes to eat for lunch & then we had a dinner at a restaurant. Two of the days we did not hike, we picked up pizza from Anchovies Pizza and hamburgers from Shot Gun Willies & took them back to the hotel to have with our sodas & chips. Once again we saved money because we did not purchase the drinks from the restaurant. 

On our trip we ate at several restaurants around the Enchanted Circle. Some restaurants were better than others. Below is my review of each restaurant we visited during our stay. 
Medium Combo #3 @ Sundance Restaurant
  • Sundance Restaurant 401 High Street Red River, NM - Sundance has been serving fine food for over 40 years in Red River. Located off the main street, it is a gem of a restaurant worth finding. It is a tradition that our family eat at Sundance at least once during our stay. This year we were not disappointed as we have not been disappointed in years past. We actually ate at Sundance two times this trip.  The first night of our stay we ordered baked potatoes from Sundance for our steak dinner we prepared at the hotel.  The next night we returned for dinner. My husband & son had the enchilada dinner & I had the grilled chipotle chicken breast dinner. The dinners were fantastic & served with never ending chips & salsa. The prices were reasonable for the quality & quantity of food provided. Sundance is only open for dinner & reservations are recommended.  If you do not have reservations, plan to arrive at the 5 PM opening so you will not have a long wait.  We highly recommend this restaurant as it is our favorite in Red River - thumbs up. 
Silver Sage Steakhouse Fort Garland, Colorado
  • Silver Sage Restaurant Fort Garland, Colorado - One of the days of our trip was spent in Colorado at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. On our way back from the dunes we stopped at the Silver Sage Restaurant in Fort Garland CO.  The restaurant is on the west side of town on the main thoroughfare - Highway 160. This was our favorite restaurant from our vacation this year. The food was spectacular & the service was top notch. I had the
    Delicious chicken special @ Silver Sage Steakhouse
    chicken special, my son had the fried fish basket, & my husband had the chicken fried steak.  The prices were very reasonable with an average price of $12 per meal for the meals we purchased. Fort Garland is about 1.5 hours north of Red River, NM & this restaurant is worth the drive!  This is a fantastic restaurant that we give a big thumbs up!
Outdoor patio Orlando's Taos, NM
  • Orlando's New Mexican Cafe 1114 Don Juan Valdez Ln, Taos, NM - During our hike of the Rio Grande Gorge we asked some of the locals where a good place to eat in Taos would be.  Orlando's was the first restaurant that came up, plus it got rave reviews on Trip Advisor.  With that recommendation we headed to Orlando's after our hike. We arrived around 1 PM on a Thursday & were seated immediately.  We chose to sit in the restaurant as opposed to on the patio. We decided we needed to clean up prior to eating since we had been on the hiking trail for 4 hours that morning. We were directed to the bathrooms which were located THROUGH THE KITCHEN!  Yes, we had to walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. I was not a fan of this to say the least. Back at the table the waitress asked if we would like chips & salsa but THEY WERE NOT FREE! I have never been to a Mexican restaurant where the chips & salsa cost extra. We ordered one basket of chips & salsa & thought they were pretty good, wish we could have had more but we were not willing to pay for another basket. My husband & son ordered the blue corn enchiladas & were not impressed.
    Chicken Fajitas @ Orlando's 
    I ordered the chicken fajitas which were good. The problem with my meal was I had more chicken than I had flour tortillas. Guess what? Additional tortillas cost more money - talk about nickel & diming the customer! Overall I would not recommend this restaurant - thumbs down.
     
  • Subway 1128 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, Taos, NM. When we were in Taos we stopped in at Subway & purchased 2 footlong sandwiches for $11 to take back with us to our hotel to eat in the coming days. There are no chain restaurants in Red River so finding a deal is a bit difficult. Our sandwiches were the typical Subway sandwich that were tasty & affordable. If you are looking to save money on food, stop by Subway in Taos & bring back some sandwiches in your ice chest you will carry with you on the trip.  The sandwiches were good, the price was right - Subway gets a big thumbs up for being on budget & good! 
  • Shotgun Willies 403 W. Main Street Red River, NM. Shotgun Willies is open for breakfast & lunch from 7 AM to 2 PM. We ate lunch at Shotgun Willies one day on our trip. My son & I ordered hamburgers, my husband order the chopped beef BBQ sandwich, & we shared an order of onion rings & french fries.  The 1/2 pound hamburgers are huge so make sure you order with an empty stomach. The food was tasty & not terribly overpriced. You can eat inside or outside the restaurant, but the seating areas are limited. We got ours to go & took it back to the hotel which was one block away & ate on the patio by the river. Shotgun Willies gets a big thumbs up!
Take a step back in time as you grocery shop.
  • DerMarkt Food Store 307 W. Main Street Red River, NM. DerMarkt is the only grocery store in Red River.  They offer a variety of grocery products from fresh meat, to frozen foods, to breads, to alcoholic beverages, to most items carried by a grocery store. Even if you do not purchase anything, go to DerMarkt & step back in time. You can get what you need in this old school market - thumbs up!
  • Texas Reds Steakhouse Main Street Red River, NM.   Let me begin my review of Texas Reds with a little family history.  For decades every time our family visited the
    Waiting Area Texas Reds Steakhouse
    Enchanted Circle we went to Texas Reds, even when it was located in Eagles Nest. So I guess you can say it is a family tradition. However, this trip might have been our last visit to Texas Reds. The prices of steaks are $30 & up, pricing it out of the reach of our budget.  I would not mind paying $30 if the steaks were melt in your mouth fantastic but the reviews online said they were less than stellar. Given the steep prices of steak I ordered the grilled chicken breast, my husband ordered the trout, & my son had a salad. We arrived between 5:00 & 6:00 PM & were seated within 15 minutes. The waitress brought us peanuts & our drinks & we ordered our entrees. While we were waiting for our meals we ate the complimentary peanuts. I had about 5 before I had a sour peanut & stopped eating them.  My son ate almost the rest of the basket as he loves peanuts & throwing the shells on the floor! Our meals arrived & were mediocre at best.  My chicken breast was dry & not very tasty. The okra was tasty however.  My husband's trout was bland. The food was definitely NOT worth the $15 per plate prices that we were charged. As if the bland food was not enough, within 1 hour of leaving Texas Reds Steakhouse my son came down with a terrible case of diarrhea.  We then had to leave the fun we were having at the Community House & head back to the hotel.  Thankfully DerMarkt was still open & my husband was able to pick up some much needed medicine for my son. However that medicine made him groggy for the rest of that night & all the next day. Thanks a lot Texas Reds! So given the prices, mediocre food, & a bad case of diarrhea I think next time we visit the Enchanted Circle we will not continue our Texas Reds tradition - thumbs down... waaay down.
  • Anchovies Pizzeria 320 E. Main St. Red River, NM.
    Great pizza served here!
    Anchovies Pizzeria has some of the best pizza I have ever tasted.  They make their pizzas fresh & you can tell they value a quality product. We ordered the 16" Working Man pizza & got it to go. They do have limited seating inside & several tables outside for you to eat there.  The free wifi is nice as well. We once again ate on the patio tables at our hotel & drank our own sodas so as to save money. The 16" pizza is too big for our family to eat in one sitting so we put the other half in our refrigerator in our room & ate it for lunch the next day. Make sure you bring foil from home so you can wrap up your leftovers small enough they will fit in the refrigerator. For $26 our family had 2 meals! Anchovies has great food, great prices, & great atmosphere - BIG thumbs up!
  • Kaw-Liga's Hwy 64 Eagles Nest, NM. Kaw-Liga's is a diner located in the heart of Eagles Nest. From the moment you step into the diner you feel as though you have stepped back in time. The music & decorations are from the 50s & 60s, the menus are on old LP records, & the staff are very friendly. The menu offers typical diner fare with burgers, steak fingers, chicken strips, fries, onion rings & the likes.  My husband ordered the chicken strip basket & my son & I ordered the steak finger basket. We all liked our food & the prices were reasonable. We would recommend Kaw-Ligas for the atmosphere, staff, & the best steak finger basket I have had in years - thumbs up!
    Steak finger basket Kaw-Ligas Eagles Nest, NM
I hope these reviews will help your family choose restaurants that will help you stay on budget as you visit the Enchanted Circle. 

Fun Things To Do in the Enchanted Circle:
So you have chosen a mountain vacation in the Enchanted Circle of New Mexico for your summertime family vacation this year. What will you do to occupy your days?  Our family loves to visit the mountains during the summer to escape the grueling Texas heat! Below are the activities we enjoyed this year on our trip.  You can read my previous blog about Red River, NM to see activities we have done on previous trips. 
  • Red River Community House 116 E. Main Street Red River, NM Are you looking for good old fashioned family fun? Do you long for a vacation where your kids (and maybe you too) have fun completely UNPLUGGED? The Red River Community House offers this kind of vacation & the cost is nothing... FREE!!  The Community House runs completely on donations & has for 75+ years. During June, July, & August the Red River Community House offers a wide range of activities for all ages of your family.
    Red River Community House - A place worth visiting!
     Examples of activities include guided hikes, boat building, storytelling, s'mores, games on the lawn, line dancing, teen "Chill" night,  nature walks, movies on the lawn, geocaching, 42, square dancing, photography, & family night to name a few.  Check out the calendar on the Red River Community House website to see what fun activities are planned. We tried to participate in as many activities offered as we could. Listed below are the activities we participated in this year.


    Middle Fork Lake
    • Middle Fork Lake hike - Members of the Red River Community House will lead a group on a hike up to Middle Fork Lake at an elevation of 10,840. You will meet at the Community House & then carpool to the head of the trail.  The roads are rough & not all vehicles will be able to get to the trail head. On your
      Community House Guide Bob
      hike you have knowledgeable guides (our guides were Bob & Jay) that will explain about the history, & the flora & fauna on the trail. You will not only have the experience of climbing up to this pristine lake but you will also get to learn about the area. The hike takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete. When we went in early June we had to cross a snow melt river that was about 8" deep by traversing downed trees to make our way across - it was FUN! My son really enjoyed the patches of snow that he could play in & throw snowballs on our hike - we don't see much snow in
      Texas! We packed a lunch of beef jerky, crackers, & grapes & enjoyed it at the top surrounded by the
      beautiful Middle Fork Lake.  The hike is moderately difficult with many switchbacks headed up the
      mountain. Make sure you have properly acclimated to the high elevation before you go on this hike.  You do not want to miss this beautiful hike with the Red River Community House!
    • Author presentation. The Red River Community House invites an author to speak once during the summer months.  The week we visited the author presenting was David Morrell who is most famously known for his Rambo books. We had never heard an author present so we took advantage of this opportunity. Mr. Morrell spent a great deal of time explaining how an author pens books & the inner turmoil that brings characters to life.  My 12 year old son was quite the trooper as we sat there on the second row for 1.5 hours.  He was interested for the first 30 minutes but quickly lost interest.  My husband & I felt the presentation was a bit long as well.  It was an experience that we probably will not repeat in the near future unless it is an author we are interested in hearing. Thank you to the Red River Community House for offering this opportunity to us.
    • S'mores on the lawn of the Red River Community House. Twice during our stay we enjoyed s'mores on the lawn of the Community House.  For small children there was also a staff member reading a story during this time as well. The Community House supplies all you need for s'mores. My son enjoyed the s'mores & we enjoyed visiting with other families who were visiting Red River. We highly recommend this family fun activity!


      Line Dancing FUN!
    • Line Dancing at the Community House. Two nights during our stay, line dancing was an activity we enjoyed.  This family fun event takes place inside the Community House.  No experience is required to have some good old fashioned fun!  There cannot be a family with less dancing skills than our family but we still participated & had a blast! I think we might have even gotten a little better before the night was finished. We highly recommend visiting the Community House on line dancing night even if you just go to watch others & listen to music. 
    • Río Grande Del Norte National Monument - 
      Big Arsenic Trail guided hike by the Red River Community House. Our guides Bob & Baylor led us to the national monument near Questa to give us a taste of the varied terrain in the Red River area. Whereas the Middle Fork Lake hike took us up to almost 11,000 feet,
      Big Arsenic Trail @ Rio Grande
      Del Norte Monument
      the Big Arsenic Trail hike had us descend 680 feet into the gorge carved out by the Rio Grande River. The hike featured stunning views of the volcanic created mountains, desert landscapes, & the river below. As with our previous hike Bob & Baylor explained the local flora & fauna making the hike all the more interesting. Once we reached the bottom, Bob & Baylor took us to an area where we saw several petroglyphs - which was an incredible sight! We spent about 45 minutes at the base before heading back up. The Big Arsenic Trail hike was a nice compliment to the Middle Fork Lake hike we completed 2 days earlier. I will say the hike down was much easier than the hike back up. The hike will take about 4-5 hours including drive time. I think they only offer this guided hike during June because of the summer heat in the lower valley.  If you have the opportunity to go on this or any guided hike offered by the Red River Community House, just go - you will not regret it. 

Hiking into the gorge.


Our guide Bob stops to tell us about the area.



Petroglyphs located at the bottom of the gorge.

    • Family night at the Community House. The family night we attended started out with a little line dancing then the musical chairs were brought out.  After a round of musical chairs we then had 3 legged races followed by wheelbarrow races, leap frog, bird on a perch, limbo, & finished up with a little more line dancing. These old fashioned fun games were a blast & we highly recommend attending family night. 
3 Legged Race


Crab crawl race


LIMBO!


Wheelbarrow Race

    Games on the lawn
    • Games on the Lawn at the Community House. I have to admit that when I read Games on the Lawn mid-afternoon on a Friday I thought we would do the same games we had done for Family Night. I was WRONG! The Community House staff played games with the kids including bocce ball, a parachute game, Frisbee etc.  My son had fun playing these games and we enjoyed sitting on the Community House porch & visiting. 
    Little Red Schoolhouse on the 
    Red River history hike
    • Red River History Hike. The Community House leads a historical walking tour through the town of Red River. On the tour staff members explain the historical significance of some of the homes & buildings in town. I will say that of all the Community House activities we participated, this was our least favorite. That being said if you have an hour or so & would like to learn more about Red River it is worth your time if for nothing else to enjoy the company of the good people of the Community House. 
    • Boat Building & Race.  Our family LOVES boat building & racing offered by the Community House.This is so much fun & you get a FREE souvenir for your efforts. The activity starts on the lawn of the Community House where kids (and the adult helping them build) select blocks of wood, nails, & a hammer.
Select your wood to construct your boat.
You are limited to no more than 5 pieces of wood of varied sizes & shapes.  Once the boat is constructed you then go to the tarps on the lawn where you paint your boat. (NOTE: Do not dress your kids in their best clothes for this activity because they will most likely get paint on the clothes.) After the paint dries, about 20 minutes, all of the boats are taken across the street to the Red River.  
Families work together to build the boat.
The Community House staff members then race the boats in different heats with a winner for each run.  One final race is conducted to determine the overall winner.  1st, 2nd, & 3rd place boats are given prizes for winning.  Everyone gets to keep their boat.  We highly recommend boat building. It is so much fun to build & then race the boats. You do not want to miss this activity.
Waiting for the paint to dry...
Racing the boats down the Red River

As you can see we participated in many of the activities offered by the Community House.  We visited during the first week of their season & not all of the activities were available that are available in late June & July. The one I missed the most was Movies on the Lawn which normally is on Wednesdays but not the week we were there.  Last year it was fantastic to sit our under the stars & watch a movie while eating popcorn provided by the Community House. Just remember to bundle up because the temperatures drop quickly as the sunsets. 

When you visit Red River make sure you stop by the Red River Community House & participate in the FREE activities provided.  It will make your vacation unforgettable! We have been back in Texas six weeks & a couple of times per week we will say "I wonder what is going on at the Community House right now?" THUMBS WAAY UP!

While we spent a great deal of time doing the activities provided by the Community House, we also did fun things that were not associated with the Community House. Some of the activities we did include:
  • We hiked the nature trail in town that runs along side the
    The nature trail is an 
    easy trail to hike.
    Red River a couple of times during our stay. Start your hike next to the Platinum Chair Lift located next door to the Best Western Rivers Edge. Along the trail you will find placards that provide information about the plants growing in that area.  At the end of the nature trail you can choose to cross the river & head back into town or keep hiking. The trail is beautiful with the river running right next to it. This easy hiking trail is worth your time to explore right in the center of town - THUMBS UP. 
    The Red River runs parallel to the nature trail. 
  • We went to Mallette Park located right in town but hidden in the canyon behind Sitzmark. The park has a small creek running through it. There are tennis courts & a skate park. Mallette Park also has a playground. We hiked the nature trail. There are charcoal grills for those who want to grill.  
    Beautiful park located in Red River.
We toured the inside of 
an old gold mine.
  • One morning we took a 3 hour tour over Old Pass. We toured with the New Mexico Adventure Company in "Big Daddy" - a Ford F150 with the bed converted to 3 rows of seats. The tour starts with going up Pioneer trail & exploring old gold mines.  Elizabeth, our driver, took us into an old mine & gave us the history. From there we headed up Pioneer Road & stopped at the homestead of miners from years past.  Once at the top we panned for gold. We did not find any gold but it sure was fun trying!
    Mining for gold.
    After mining for gold we headed back down into Red
    River where we made a bathroom stop at the Red River Convention Center. From there we headed up to Old Pass. We stopped at the summit for taking pictures of the beautiful views.  
    View from the summit of Old Pass.
    Hold on tight! The ride back down into Red River was a series of switchbacks that was not wide enough for two vehicles. Along the way Elizabeth stopped & told us interesting stories about the area. She did a fantastic job as tour leader. The tour was definitely an adventure! We highly recommend it IF you are not pregnant, have back problems, or other conditions that an incredibly bumpy
    Located in the heart of Red River.
    ride could adversely affect you. We loved our tour but it sure was a rough ride. 3 Hour Tour Cost: Adults $47, Senior $37, Children 4-12 $27, & 3 & under free. 
    Our tour was filled with memories we will have from now on - BIG thumbs up!
  • After our tour over Old Pass we headed over to the Red River Ski Area to do some summer mountain tubing. During the summer months the Red River Ski Area installs glide paths down the blue slope & the gold slope. You get a tube, ride the lift up if you are riding the Gold Rush Hill & get ready for some high speed FUN! The first time we went down the Gold Rush Hill we could not believe how fast we were going. The price was a little expensive at $18 for 3 runs or $23 for 1 hour - but it was fun. Being budget conscious we tried to figure out what the better deal would be. We decided it had to do with crowds - if it was very crowded then we would just do the 3 runs otherwise we would purchase an hour.  As it turned out it was not very busy the day we were there so we purchased 1 hour & counted how many times we went down.  We were able to get 6 runs in during our 1 hour time but we did not take any breaks. Summer Tubing gets a BIG thumbs up!
  • One day during our trip we went to Angel Fire. Angel Fire
    Angel Fire ski mountain
    is about 30 minutes from Red River over beautiful Bobcat Pass & through the town of Eagles Nest. We have visited Angel Fire in the past during the winter for skiing & really liked the long blues & greens to ski. While we liked the skiing, the town of Angel Fire lacked the charm of Red River. Since we tried the Red River ski lift last year on our trip, this year we decided to try the ski lift at Angel Fire.
    View from chairlift ride up 
    Angel Fire mountain.
    Basically you take the chairlift to the top of the mountain & when you have finished exploring the top you can either hike back down OR you can ride the lift back down. On top of the mountain you can eat at the Summit Haus Restaurant, zip line, play disc golf, hike, or ride your mountain bike.  Angel Fire has great mountain biking trails cut down the mountain that people come from all over the world to ride. We rode the lift up on a beautiful morning. However we found the view to be disappointing. The most exciting thing we saw on the way up or down was the mountain bike competition that was taking place that day.  The way the lift was designed it is very flat & you cannot see past the trees in most places.  The views from the Red River ski lift were far superior. So we get to the top of Angel Fire ski mountain - elevation 10,677 feet.
    View from the summit of Angel Fire mountain.
    We take in the views from the lift area. We then ask the attendant where the lake is located that we could hike to that we had read about. You see we brought a picnic lunch that we planned to eat at this lake.  We should have known by the response we received from the attendant but how were we to know? So we hike in the direction the attendant pointed us.  We passed one couple coming from the direction we were headed. We SHOULD have known by the looks on their faces but we did not... So on we hiked for about 5-10 more minutes and there it was - what we came to see- or was it?  The beautiful mountain lake we had read about was nothing more than a dried up pond that had been built by what I presume to be a person who thought it would hold water. It was a sad lake/pond.  
    NOT a beautiful mountain lake - 
    only a disappointment.
    What little water it held must have been from the tears shed by the person who spent money having it dug only to see it dry up. We opted not to eat lunch, so we headed back to the lift area but this time we took the trail with disc golf on it & found the one redeeming quality of our trip up Angel Fire ski mountain. We found an opening in the trees in a rocky area where we could see beautiful mountain vistas that we had hoped to see on the lift ride up.
    View from a clearing atop Angel Fire mountain.
    After taking some photos we went back to the Summit Haus Restaurant where we sat on their outside deck & enjoyed the weather while watching people zip line & mountain bike. We opted not to hike back down the mountain & instead rode the lift down. Cost for one time use lift ticket: 
    Adults (ages 13-64) $12, Children (ages 4-12) $8, Children (under age 4*) Free, & Active Military/Seniors (ages 65+) $10. There were just too many disappointments on our Angel Fire chair lift to recommend it - THUMBS DOWN FOR ANGEL FIRE CHAIR LIFT - GO TO RED RIVER INSTEAD.
  • Angel Fire Vietnam Veterans Memorial In May 1968 Victor David Westfall III along with 15 other soldiers were killed while fighting in the Vietnam War.  His parents, Dr.
    A must see memorial in  Angel Fire.
    Victor & Jeanne Westfall began a memorial soon after their son's death to honor the fallen soldiers.  The memorial was completed in May 1971 and became the first major Vietnam War memorial in the United States. Today the memorial not only honors Vietnam veterans but all veterans.  Located on a hilltop overlooking Angel Fire the location is absolutely beautiful! When you visit the Enchanted Circle you must visit this memorial to honor all who have served our country.  You will not regret the time you spend at the Angel Fire Veteran's Memorial - thumbs up! 
  • Visiting Taos, New Mexico. Taos is the largest city in the Enchanted Circle with a population of 5,700.  It is also the only city with national chain restaurants (Taco Bell & McDonald's etc.) & stores (Walmart & Albertson's etc.). Taos even has a movie theater!  On this trip to the Enchanted Circle we went to Taos one day & had lunch at a local favorite, Orlando's, picked up some Subway sandwiches, & went to Walmart to pick up some supplies. On previous trips we have white water rafted near Taos - which is the only location to white water raft in the Enchanted Circle.
    Narrow streets in Taos are packed with traffic.

    Taos First Baptist Church
    We visited the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge on previous trips as well. Taos is known for the Taos Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. Traffic in Taos is VERY congested. We have not found much of interest in Taos - THUMBS DOWN. 
  • Enjoy the town of Red River. You could sit outside by the
    A look down Main Street in Red River.
    river & enjoy the beautiful summer day! The city of Red River stocks the Red River with trout each week during the summer.  Bring your fishing pole & drop a line in the Red River or the town pond.
    Two fishermen looking to catch dinner.
    If fishing is not your idea of a good time you can just sit and watch the water rush by.
    Relaxing by the Red River.
    You could walk the streets of the quaint town & do a little shopping or just visit with the friendly locals in the shops. If you have trouble walking from end to end of town, Red River offers a free shuttle bus. 
    Free Red River Shuttle Bus
With summertime highs topping out in the upper 70s & lows in the 40s you will find a beautiful day awaiting you when you visit the Enchanted Circle during the summer. 
Angel Fire, NM

Red River, NM
Taos, NM

May God bless you on all your adventures!


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